Throwback Thursday: Valuing Ecosystem Services

Ecosystems provide a wide variety of marketable goods. However, society is increasingly recognizing the myriad functions—the observable manifestations of ecosystem processes such as nutrient recycling, regulation of climate, and maintenance of biodiversity—that they provide, without which human civilizations could not thrive.

Valuing Ecosystem Services evaluates methods for assessing services and the associated economic values of aquatic and related terrestrial ecosystems. It focuses on identifying and assessing existing economic methods to quantitatively determine the intrinsic value of these ecosystems in support of improved environmental decision-making, including situations where ecosystem services can be only partially valued.

Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision-Making

Nutrient recycling, habitat for plants and animals, flood control, and water supply are among the many beneficial services provided by aquatic ecosystems. In making decisions about human activities, such as draining a wetland for a housing …

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Understanding the Impact of the Social and Behavioral Sciences on the Weather Enterprise

There is growing recognition that a host of social and behavioral factors affect how we prepare for, observe, predict, respond to, and are impacted by weather hazards. For example, an individual’s response to a severe weather event may depend on their understanding of the forecast, prior experience with severe weather, concerns about their other family members or property, their capacity to take the recommended protective actions, and numerous other factors.

It is essential to bring to bear expertise in the social and behavioral sciences (SBS) to understand how people’s knowledge, experiences, perceptions, and attitudes shape their responses to weather risks and to understand how human cognitive and social dynamics affect the forecast process itself. Our report explores and provides guidance on the challenges of integrating social and behavioral sciences within the weather enterprise. It assesses current SBS activities, describes the potential value of improved integration of SBS and barriers that impede this integration, develops a research agenda, and identifies infrastructural and institutional arrangements for successfully pursuing SBS-weather research and the transfer of relevant findings to operational settings.

Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences Within the Weather Enterprise

Our ability to observe and forecast severe weather events has improved markedly over the past few decades. Forecasts of snow and ice storms, hurricanes and storm surge, extreme heat, and other severe weather events are made with greater accuracy, …

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The Science of Science Communication: Free Webcast and Resources

With so many complex and sometimes uncertain scientific issues facing our society, there has never been a more critical time to communicate science effectively. A National Academy of Sciences event, the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication III begins today and runs through tomorrow, November 17th. Watch the free webcast to hear from researchers, practitioners, content experts, and philanthropists, all vested in ensuring that evidence-based science communication thrives.

Our books provide guidance to improve communication of and public engagement with science:

Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda

Science and technology are embedded in virtually every aspect of modern life. As a result, people face an increasing need to integrate information from science with their personal values and other considerations as they make important life …

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The Science of Science Communication II: Summary of a Colloquium

Successful scientists must be effective communicators within their professions. Without those skills, they could not write papers and funding proposals, give talks and field questions, or teach classes and mentor students. However, communicating …

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Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences

Science is a way of knowing about the world. At once a process, a product, and an institution, science enables people to both engage in the construction of new knowledge as well as use information to achieve desired ends. Access to …

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Effective Chemistry Communication in Informal Environments

Chemistry plays a critical role in daily life, impacting areas such as medicine and health, consumer products, energy production, the ecosystem, and many other areas. Communicating about chemistry in informal environments has the potential to …

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Communicating Chemistry: A Framework for Sharing Science: A Practical Evidence-Based Guide

A growing body of evidence indicates that, increasingly, the public is engaging with science in a wide range of informal environments, which can be any setting outside of school such as community-based programs, festivals, libraries, or home. Yet …

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Trust and Confidence at the Interfaces of the Life Sciences and Society: Does the Public Trust Science? A Workshop Summary

Does the public trust science? Scientists? Scientific organizations? What roles do trust and the lack of trust play in public debates about how science can be used to address such societal concerns as childhood vaccination, cancer screening, and …

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Scientific Research Disaster Recovery Grants from the Gulf Research Program

Photo credit: NASA

This week, the Gulf Research Program announced it will be awarding up to $2 million in fast-track grants to help scientific research efforts recover from the impacts of Gulf Coast hurricanes Harvey and Irma. For more information about this and other funding opportunities from the program, visit www.nas.edu/gulf/grants.

Over its 30-year duration, the Gulf Research Program works to enhance oil system safety and the protection of human health and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. outer continental shelf areas by seeking to improve understanding of the region’s interconnecting human, environmental, and energy systems and fostering application of these insights to benefit Gulf communities, ecosystems, and the Nation.

Learn more about the Gulf Research Program.

The Gulf Research Program Annual Report 2016

Each year, the Gulf Research Program (GRP) produces an annual report to summarize how funds were used. These reports review accomplishments, highlight activities, and, over time, will assess metrics to determine how the program is progressing in …

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The Gulf Research Program Annual Report 2015

Each year, the Gulf Research Program produces an annual report to summarize how funds were used. These reports review accomplishments, highlight activities, and, over time, will assess metrics to determine how the program is progressing in …

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The Gulf Research Program: A Strategic Vision

In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, resulting in significant impacts on the region’s environment and residents. Legal settlements with the …

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The Gulf Research Program Annual Report 2013-2014

The 2013-2014 annual report highlights the establishment and first activities of the Gulf Research Program, an independent, science-based program founded in 2013. Through grants, fellowships, and other activities, the Gulf Research Program seeks …

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Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Community Resilience and Health: Summary of a Workshop

There are many connections between human communities and their surrounding environments that influence community resilience and health in the Gulf of Mexico. The impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf communities and ecosystems …

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Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Monitoring Ecosystem Restoration and Deep Water Environments: Summary of a Workshop

Environmental monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico poses extensive challenges and significant opportunities. Multiple jurisdictions manage this biogeographically and culturally diverse region, whose monitoring programs tend to be project-specific by …

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Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Middle-Skilled Workforce Needs: Summary of a Workshop

During the period 1990 to 2010, U.S. job growth occurred primarily in the high-skilled and low-skilled sectors. Yet, one-third of projected job growth for the period 2010-2020 will require middle-skilled workers — who will earn strong …

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Throwback Thursday: Science, Evolution, and Creationism

Science, Evolution, and Creationism explains the fundamental methods of science, documents the overwhelming evidence in support of biological evolution, and evaluates the alternative perspectives offered by advocates of various kinds of creationism, including “intelligent design.” The book explores the many fascinating inquiries being pursued that put the science of evolution to work in preventing and treating human disease, developing new agricultural products, and fostering industrial innovations.

Our Evolution Collection details the extensive evidence that exists in support of biological evolution, stresses the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem management, and evaluates the alternative perspectives offered by various kinds of creationism. These reports also focus on how science and religion can be viewed as different ways of understanding the world, rather than as frameworks that are in conflict with each other.

 

Science, Evolution, and Creationism

How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other …

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Mitigating the Misuse of Life Sciences Research

Dual Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies examines the U.S. strategy for reducing biosecurity risks in life sciences research and considers mechanisms that would allow researchers to manage the dissemination of the results of research while mitigating the potential for harm to national security.

On October 20th, members of the authoring committee for the report, Arturo Casadevall and Claire Fraser, participated in a Reddit AMA discussing the misuse of life sciences research and ways to mitigate this threat. Read the archive here.

Learn more about biosecurity with our collection.

Dual Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies

The potential misuse of advances in life sciences research is raising concerns about national security threats. Dual Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies examines the U.S. strategy for reducing biosecurity risks in life sciences research and …

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Gain-of-Function Research: Summary of the Second Symposium, March 10-11, 2016

On March 10-11, 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a public symposium on potential U.S. government policies for the oversight of gain-of- function (GOF) research. This was the Academies’ second meeting held at the request of the U.S. government to provide …

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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences

The Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences workshop was held to engage the life sciences community on the particular security issues related to research with dual use potential. More than 60 participants from almost 30 countries took part and …

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Understanding Biosecurity: Protecting Against the Misuse of Science in Today’s World

Drawing on the work of the National Academies, this booklet introduces some of the issues at the intersection of science and security. The life sciences offer tremendous promise for meeting many 21st century challenges. But with opportunities come responsibilities. An important aspect of …

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The Great ShakeOut

Did you participate in the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill today? It is imperative that communities and the nation consider the difficult fiscal, social, cultural, and environmental choices about the best ways to ensure basic security and quality of life against earthquakes. These books present a roadmap for increasing our national resilience to earthquakes and outline additional information, data, gaps, and obstacles that need to be addressed in order to do so.

The Cascadia Megaquake webinar series focused on the science and engineering associated with the earthquake source, the hazards, current strategies to mitigate loss of life, and emerging opportunities in early warning and reducing uncertainty.

Watch Part 1

Watch Part 2

 

National Earthquake Resilience: Research, Implementation, and Outreach

The United States will certainly be subject to damaging earthquakes in the future. Some of these earthquakes will occur in highly populated and vulnerable areas. Coping with moderate earthquakes is not a reliable indicator of preparedness for a major earthquake in a populated area. The recent, …

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Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative

No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation and its communities. Communities and the nation …

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Tsunami Warning and Preparedness: An Assessment of the U.S. Tsunami Program and the Nation’s Preparedness Efforts

Many coastal areas of the United States are at risk for tsunamis. After the catastrophic 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, legislation was passed to expand U.S. tsunami warning capabilities. Since then, the nation has made progress in several related areas on both the federal and state levels. …

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The Future of Energy

Electricity is indispensable to modern society, but emissions resulting from many forms of electricity generation create environmental risks that continue to threaten significant negative economic, security, and human health consequences. How can we balance the affordability and reliability of more traditional methods with the low emissions of cleaner power generation? Our reports discuss options and opportunities to move towards increasingly clean electric power technologies.

The Power of Change: Innovation for Development and Deployment of Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies

Electricity, supplied reliably and affordably, is foundational to the U.S. economy and is utterly indispensable to modern society. However, emissions resulting from many forms of electricity generation create environmental risks that could have significant negative economic, security, and human …

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Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System

Americans’ safety, productivity, comfort, and convenience depend on the reliable supply of electric power. The electric power system is a complex “cyber-physical” system composed of a network of millions of components spread out across the continent. These components are owned, operated, …

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Overcoming Barriers to Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles

In the past few years, interest in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has grown. Advances in battery and other technologies, new federal standards for carbon-dioxide emissions and fuel economy, state zero-emission-vehicle requirements, and the current administration’s goal of putting millions of …

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Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands

The potential for energy resource development on Department of Energy (DOE)-managed lands remains a topic of interest within DOE, Congress, and with private developers interested in siting projects on DOE lands. Several previous studies have estimated the energy resource development potential …

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Commercial Aircraft Propulsion and Energy Systems Research: Reducing Global Carbon Emissions

The primary human activities that release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere are the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) to generate electricity, the provision of energy for transportation, and as a consequence of some industrial processes. Although aviation CO2 …

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An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy

The potential for using fusion energy to produce commercial electric power was first explored in the 1950s. Harnessing fusion energy offers the prospect of a nearly carbon-free energy source with a virtually unlimited supply of fuel. Unlike nuclear fission plants, appropriately designed fusion …

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Addressing the Energy-Water Nexus: 2013-2014 Meetings in Brief

Adequate water and energy are critical to the continued economic security of the United States. The relationship between energy and water is complex, and the scientific community is increasingly recognizing the importance of better understanding the linkages between these two resource domains. …

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Free Resources to Support High-Quality Cancer Care

In the United States, more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. However, rising costs are making cancer care less affordable for patients and their families and there are growing shortages of health professionals skilled in providing cancer care. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve gathered a comprehensive list of reports that explore detection, treatment, and support related to all types of cancer.

Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis

In the United States, approximately 14 million people have had cancer and more than 1.6 million new cases are diagnosed each year. However, more than a decade after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) first studied the quality of cancer care, the …

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The Drug Development Paradigm in Oncology: Proceedings of a Workshop

Advances in cancer research have led to an improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning the development of cancer and how the immune system responds to cancer. This influx of research has led to an increasing number and variety …

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Assessing and Improving the Interpretation of Breast Images: Workshop Summary

Millions of women undergo screening mammography regularly with the hope of detecting breast cancer at an earlier and more curable stage. But the ability of such screening to accurately detect early cancers depends on the quality of mammography, …

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Breast Cancer and the Environment: Questions and Answers: English Version

Throughout their lives, women have experiences and make decisions that can influence their chances of getting breast cancer. While we have little control over some of these risk factors, we can sometimes make choices – good or bad – that affect …

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Ovarian Cancers: Evolving Paradigms in Research and Care

In an era of promising advances in cancer research, there are considerable and even alarming gaps in the fundamental knowledge and understanding of ovarian cancer. Researchers now know that ovarian cancer is not a single disease–several distinct …

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Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs

Cancer care today often provides state-of-the-science biomedical treatment, but fails to address the psychological and social (psychosocial) problems associated with the illness. This failure can compromise the effectiveness of health care and …

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Throwback Thursday: Convergence

Convergence of the life sciences with fields including physical, chemical, mathematical, computational, engineering, and social sciences is a key strategy to tackle complex challenges and achieve new and innovative solutions. However, institutions face a lack of guidance on how to establish effective programs, what challenges they are likely to encounter, and what strategies other organizations have used to address the issues that arise.

Published in 2014, Convergence investigates examples of organizations that have established mechanisms to support convergent research. This report summarizes the lessons learned and provides organizations with strategies to tackle practical needs and implementation challenges in areas such as infrastructure, student education and training, faculty advancement, and inter-institutional partnerships.

Convergence: Facilitating Transdisciplinary Integration of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Beyond

Convergence of the life sciences with fields including physical, chemical, mathematical, computational, engineering, and social sciences is a key strategy to tackle complex challenges and achieve new and innovative solutions. However, institutions face a lack of guidance on how to establish …

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Watch the Video

This video explains what convergence is and how this new approach to problem solving could open up new pathways to research advances.